Tuesday, 20 April 2021

A Reader's Question

I recently received an email from a private correspondent which I think expresses feelings many people are currently experiencing and so, with permission, I include it here together with my response.

"I must say this corona virus time is not a walk in the park for me and I guess that is true for many many other people.

I am suffering more than ever before. I cannot go into details, but sometimes the tension and pain seem to be unbearable. The worst is also that despite my prayers and meditations, I seem to stay in the midst of a dark night of the soul. Sometimes I can understand those folks talking about ascension, especially in the US because I too feel these symptoms. There is, they say, a huge transition taking place to another dimension. We are evolving from a carbon body to the light body. Many scientists-pioneers in different fields like Candice Pert, Bruce Lipton, Gregg Braden, Rupert Sheldrake, Lynn Mc Taggart, Erwin Laszlo, David Wilcock. Masaru Emoto etc seem to come to the same conclusion of the some spiritual traditions, that there is a unifying field of consciousness at the basis of all this and that everything is ONE. Again, I am confronted here with the question how this relates to my Christian faith. Another issue is the evolution of consciousness. And still another the wisdom traditions. 

Cynthia Bourgeault, Richard Rohr, Raimundo Panikkar, Teilhard de Chardin etc are all going into a seemingly other direction through these ideas. There is also an amazing work by a Catholic, published anonymously but subsequently shown to be by Valentin Tomberg , with an afterword by the great theologian Hans von Balthasar. The different spiritual opinions can be confusing.

I see people around me laughing and enjoying things and that I compare them with my situation. I would like to know your opinion about all this."

My reply was as follows:

"I'm sorry to hear that you are going through a time of suffering but I really do think that for all spiritually inclined people this present period is like a baptism by fire. We know that the world is mad and even evil at the moment, now more than ever, but still we are caught up in it. We have to accept that it is our destiny and God's will that we go through this time. I can tell you that there are several things in my own life that are difficult now. It comes to us all, I fear. It is a big mistake to think that we can experience some kind of permanent spiritual state of consciousness in this life. This life is for learning not for joy. Joy comes sometimes and should be treasured but we cannot expect the fullness of joy until after we have left this world. That would simply stop the learning process. This is something that does actually happen to many spiritual people. They think they have reached the goal and thereafter they stagnate and that means they go backwards.

I don't think we are evolving out of our physical bodies into light bodies just yet. That lies way off in the future. Even the greatest of saints rarely experience this and saints are few and far between. I know some of the names you mention but I'm not that interested in them except Tomberg whose book is a classic. For me they fall into the New Age category which I feel is now slightly out of date. It arose at a time when people wanted to explore spirituality beyond Christianity but many of them lost Christ in the process as he got swallowed up in a generic mysticism. The problem with that is that you start to see yourself as the source of your own divine power and lose touch with the real God. Tomberg is good precisely because he avoided this error.

Anyhow, try to stay cheerful. Cheerfulness was one of the qualities the ancient yogis were supposed to cultivate and everyone knows the value of positive thinking. The spiritual counterpart, hope, is one of the three theological virtues. This may be a dark time but there really is light at the end of the tunnel for those who stay spiritually hopeful and true. We have to be tested to be found spiritually worthy, and the trials may be hard but the rewards are eternal.

Yes, people are laughing and enjoying things but I expect they were just before the Flood too. I am not predicting that but still most people are quite oblivious to the reality of the situation. Those of us who are aware of the spiritual disaster zone that is the 21st century should be grateful that we are so aware. What is worse? To be aware and to suffer or to be ignorant but content and carry on sinning which is what most do even if the sin is "only" neglecting God. When it comes down to it that may be the greatest sin of all."


Bruce Charlton said...

@William - Seems like as good a reply as you could make to a stranger. I suppose the expectation of a mortal earthly life of continuous bliss is a serious problem for many people; when we and the world are not designed for this to be possible.

Yet the idea we have both converged onto - of regarding this mortal life as for a spiritual learning that will benefit our eternal life - is not well known at all. I don't think I have ever heard a mainstream Christian articulate it; or at least not clearly.

Most of the usual explanations concerning the reason for this mortal life don't make much sense, if you try to follow the argument through to the conclusion.

I think this may ultimately be related to the fact that mainstream Christians exclude the possibility of a pre-mortal spirit existence (whether the single pre-mortal life Mormon idea I hold; or multiple such lives with reincarnations, which you hold).

I think pre-mortal life is what enables us to makes sense of this mortal life as a time of specific and personal learning.

William Wildblood said...

I really do think that the idea we only start to exist with our birth in this world or at conception is one that that needs to be radically revised. Once we begin to appreciate that are spiritual beings first and foremost then we can have a much better idea of what this life is all about and how it serves as a school. See my new book due out in October!

Lionart said...

Thx William